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Four Generations makes me feel
amazingly thankful.


text 423 words
list 129 word
total 552 words


How To Be Thankful At Thanksgiving
by Dianne Roth


'Tis the season of gratitude. Crops are in; wood is chopped; tomatoes are canned; hams and turkeys are in the smokehouse. The fire is burning in the hearth, all is well with the world.

Okay, that may be too picturesque. The local grocer takes care of the crops and that little dial on the wall takes care of the heating. But it was not always so easy for me. I was a single mom. There was little money, and I had two children to feed, clothe and keep warm.

As I look back on those times, I know I was not grateful for the food stamps that fed my family. I know I was not thankful for the international students I had in my house to help pay the rent. I never thought of how lucky I was to have a 20 year old car that did not give out until I was able to afford a newer one. I spent many holidays feeling left out and alone. I had no family in Oregon and on Thanksgiving it was just me and two bickering children.

I tried. I would notice sunsets, the colors of the fall leaves, and crescent moons. I would listen for crickets, rustling leaves, and crisp wind. When my children were sleeping, I would tip-toe in to look lovingly on their peaceful faces and be touched that they were mine. Often, as we sat down to dinner, we would hold hands around the table for a moment of appreciation, but I know I was not “full of thanks”.

Even now, I find myself in the rush and bustle of everyday life, whizzing and missing hundreds of opportunities to take a closer, slower look at what life has brought to me. If it were not for Thanksgiving I might forget that someone did get the crops in. Someone canned the tomatoes and smoked the turkey. Someone even makes sure the gas arrives to feed my furnace.

More and more these days, I am aware of a feeling of awe. Perhaps, it is because my children are grown, and I watch them creating wonderful homes for my grandchildren. Perhaps, it is because I am growing older and my minutes feel so much more precious to me. Perhaps, I am just so much more aware of all the wonderful people, great opportunities and everyday adventures that I wake up to each morning. There is a growing fullness in me that feels a lot like gratitude. We made it! And I am filled with thanks.

Holiday suggestions for parents:

• Keep food preparations to a minimum. Give attention to the children, not the turkey.
• Stash the clutter. Sort it later when the children are playing independently.
• Clean without becoming compulsive. Family and friends are more important than the fuss.
• Remember, 10 minutes of quality time gains you an hour of happy children. If you must be a gourmet, schedule in a book or a game so you can give the children your full attention.
• Decorate with the children in mind. Stemware with 4-year-olds is a disaster waiting to happen. Save the precious mementos until they are old enough to appreciate them.

And, remember, look for the bits of life to be grateful for. They come in unusual places and uncanny forms. Keep your eyes open!


Dianne Roth is a teacher, mother, grandmother, and freelance writer. She lives in Oregon.




Last updated on October 8, 2012